A Maltese scientist has discovered two previously undocumented species of cockroach that can only be found in Malta, according to a newly-published study.
The discovery was made by naturalist Arnold Sciberras and has been documented in a paper reviewing the current Blattodea – a grouping of insects including cockroaches and termites – fauna of Malta.
“Two new cockroach species to science!” Sciberras said in a Facebook post last week. “This long-awaited study reviews the current Blattodea fauna of the Maltese Archipelago, increasing the species list from the seven recorded species to 21.”
The study is the first of its kind since the 1980s.
The two new species, have been named Kakroc ta’ Malta (Maltese Cockroach) and Wirdiena tal-Gebla tal-General ta’ Jeffrey (Jeffrey’s Fungus Rock Cockroach) – named after Sciberras’ botanist brother Jeffrey.
The Maltese Cockroach has been spotted in various locations around the island, while Jeffrey’s Fungus Rock Cockroach has been spotted mainly on Fungus Rock.
While both have been described for the same time, Sciberras and his co-author not in their paper that they cannot be certain whether they are endemic to Malta given that the fauna of southern Sicily, as well as Pantelleria and the Pelagic Islands, is not well known.
In addition to his academic work, Sciberras also runs his own pest-control company – the Exterminator.
Lovin Malta caught up with him last year to understand his passion for insects.
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